Vegas Local Tries to Scam the Casino with a False Free Bet Voucher

May 17th, 2019 2.00pm

There isn’t a player alive who hasn’t dreamed about beating the odds and cleaning the vaults of a casino, leaving a lasting mark on the gambling community and earning an honourable place in the gamblers’ hall of fame. Sadly, some of us are less concerned about the means, willing to stoop to third-grade trickeries and use blatant deception to compensate for the lack of skills. The ruse that was recently conducted by a Las Vegas native is hardly an Ocean’s 11 type of sting, yet somehow, a scheming Craps player managed to swindle an unassuming dealer by palming off a false free-bet voucher.

“The simplest form is not always the best, but the best is always simple”

Although the above quote refers to architectural design, it can easily be applied to all layers of life – including gambling strategies and con games. Yisahk Betremariam’s was definitely led by this principle when he presented the croupier with two vouchers glued together and claimed a free bet. As it turned out, he was perfectly right not to complicate the matters – the scam worked, if even for a limited amount of time.

Apparently, Betremariam had tried to use his friend’s $500 voucher in SLS Las Vegas casino earlier that day, however, the floor supervisor turned him away, explaining that the voucher could not be transferred to another person. Betremariam had left the casino, only to return approximately 5 hours later with the same voucher glued to a free buffet coupon. After spending around $300 at the Craps table, he casually submitted the forged voucher, won the bet, and nonchalantly left the table. It wasn’t until the dealer tried to validate the ticket that the scam was spotted, and authorities notified. This was not Betremariam first encounter with the law – apart from being flagged by the casino operators as a shot taker, he had already been detained for burglary and larceny.

Examples of Brilliant Casino Scams That Backfired

The Special Contact Lenses

In 2011, four con artists “won” €64,000 at Les Princes Casino in Cannes, thanks to their accomplice, a casino employee, who marked the cards with invisible ink. The scam was exposed after the players returned to the casino that same week when it was discovered that they had been wearing special contact lenses.

Radio Transmitter Hidden Inside a Cigarette Pack

This one happened a while ago, back in 1973, when a French roulette dealer, his sister and her husband stole 5 million francs (almost €900,000) with the help of the modern technology (well, modern at the time). The radio transmitter placed in the pack controlled the roulette ball which contained a miniature receiver. The scheme was unravelled after the dealer’s sister caught the attention of the casino owner who, initially attracted to her, soon realized something fishy was going on.

The Edge Sorting Method

Edge sorting is somewhat similar to card counting but instead of keeping track of the denominations, the players need to memorize distinctive characteristics of the cards, such as irregularities in the pattern or symmetry. The method almost earned a fortune to Phil Ivey Jr, a professional poker player, who generated £7.3M at a Punto Banco table in Crockfords Casino in London (2012). Two years later, Phil won over nine million dollars in Atlantic City, using the same method. Unfortunately, the payout was denied in both cases.

The Lasers

In 2004, London Ritz casino was a scene of an elaborate scheme called “sector targeting”, a system used for predicting the landing place of the roulette ball. It was assumed that the players (a Hungarian woman and two Serbian men) were using a laser scanner to calculate the speed of the ball. Before placed into custody, the trio won £1.3M, but since sector targeting was not banned at the time, the players were never charged.



Skill or Scam?